By Carmen Elena Villa
ROME, SEPT. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Families are already recognized as an entity in need of evangelization, but families should also be seen as effective evangelizers, able to reach people that other ministries cannot, says a Vatican official.
To turn families into evangelizers is the objective set by the Pontifical Council for the Family for an international conference that began today in Rome.
According to Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of that dicastery, today’s conference will lay the groundwork for the 7th World Meeting of Families, to be held in Milan, Italy, in 2012.
The sixth world meeting was held in Mexico last January.
The cardinal presented two projects under way in this context: the first is to do an international psychological study on the benefits of stable families for children and for society.
The second project is a plan to promote the family as the “subject of evangelization.”
Down to work
Cardinal Antonelli explained that the pastoral mission of families needs to be renewed and strengthened because “ministers are already very aware of the family as an element to be evangelized.”
However, “as a subject of evangelization,” he said, “the family should be valued much more, awaking again their missionary responsibility at the service of all people and everything human.”
“Believers evangelize with their spirituality, their testimony, their activity, their proclamation, their profession of faith. Or rather, Christ himself evangelizes through them,” the cardinal said. “In the measure in which they live in communion with Christ, Christians share his passionate love for all men, and they become his coworkers in human development in history and for eternal salvation, beyond history.”
The Vatican official said that working through Catholic families, “we want to reach other families and the greatest possible number of people.”
He emphasized thus the vast mission that families have before them, able to reach places where other ministries cannot: “their own homes, the environment, the school, the parish, civil and ecclesiastical associations, and others.”